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  • Writer's pictureJayna Newbold

Fa la lala ha HA!

Updated: Dec 22, 2020





Ah! The holidays!


Christmas has arrived, Dear Hearts!


Not to mention Chanukah, which began on December 22nd – the same day as National Cookie Exchange Day (What? That’s a national holiday now?) ; of course, Festivus “for the rest of us” on the 23rd; Christmas Eve the 24th; and finally, Christmas Day.


Running right up to these aforementioned dates are various holiday gatherings; movies; music programs with fingers crossed that little Nathan, who got his big break playing a shepherd in the church nativity play, doesn’t catch strep throat from cousin Derek; the shopping (Oy! The shopping!); baking; and for all of you Dear Hearts who are traveling this time of year, we sympathize.


Fun and games!


Not so much, you say? Well, I have always found that in life, you either laugh or cry. Since it is my personal belief that laughter truly is the second best medicine (next to a good nap, anyway. sleep is the panacea that cures all ills), a good chuckle is this Happy Heart Writer’s choice.

Take shopping, for instance: On a good day, this activity ranks right up there with root canal in my book.


I don’t do Black Friday. Ever. There is nothing I need or want badly enough to participate in that free-for-all circus. It’s not even fun as a spectator – much akin to watching a train wreck.

As much as I abhor shopping in general, and typically make purchases online, I decided to do my best to support local businesses who lost money during the Northern California fires a couple of months ago.


Yes, I still found it necessary to do some online shopping and, more than I anticipated, at big box stores.


One such store, I rarely frequent – in fact, I do my best to avoid at all costs and am fairly certain have made a solemn vow at some point in my adult life to never darken its doors – required a visit. Exhausting all other resources, the giant warehouse sized structure had become my last resort.


It was a Tuesday morning and I’d hoped the store wouldn’t be too crowded. As I pulled into the massive parking lot, my hopes were somewhat dashed as I dodged a few runaway shopping carts and searched for a less populated area. For some reason, this particular branch attracts folks from all over – including a nearby county full of their fair share of people who consistently indulge in pharmaceuticals of the recreational variety like it’s a job. They are harmless enough, but lack the attention one usually pays toward opening car doors – a simple everyday behavior, one would think; yet, these folks tend to lack even the most basic levels of awareness it takes to order a beverage from a drive through window. Therefore, I prefer to park as far away from the masses as possible.


Parking close to the entrance is overrated anyway, and heaven knows I can use the exercise.

No grumbling, complaining, or Grinch-like scowl for me. I giggle at the prospect of finding treasure inside.


Not too bad, I think to myself as I enter the store. A greeter says good morning to me at the door and at first glance, it doesn’t seem crowded. Tuesday morning is a good choice! Yay me! I pat myself on the back for making such a wise decision.


I head to the toy section where I’m positive that the object of my shopping desire resides. I chuckle as I pass a woman in her mid-forties wearing a bright floral moo-moo and a Santa hat. As she tosses a package of cookies into her cart, she loudly remarks to the child who is with her , “We have to buy these. Your mother doesn’t know how to cook vegetables!”


Ha ha ha – what? As my dad used to say, “Do you walk, or bring your lunch?”


Once again, I’m tickled as I recall a discussion between my brother and I regarding whose town has the worst version of this particular big box chain. After some bantering back and forth, comparing scenarios and characteristics, my brother retorted, “That’s nothing! I walked into _________ one day and saw a lady wearing bright pink sweats that appeared as though she hadn’t changed clothes for at least three days. She turned around and had bubble gum stuck to her behind.”


To which, I replied, “You win!”


As I’m smiling to myself at this remembered conversation, I realize I probably look like the Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland wandering through the aisles, and fit right in to the scenery around me. Others probably look at me and wonder what recreational chemicals I’m on!

Happily, I retrieve one of the last few Lego dinosaur kits left on the shelf and turn to make my speedy getaway.


Just as I’m thinking how easy this final stop on my shopping excursion turned out to be, and I head to the main aisle toward the cash registers, I hear a commotion.


Amidst the handful of gray-haired folks who typically grace the store on a Tuesday morning is another group that I had forgotten choose to shop at the same day and time.


As I rounded the corner, headed right for me were about six full grown adult males, all developmentally challenged, who had lost their way in the store. Apparently, their supervisor had instructed them to stay put in the candy aisle of all places as she did her best to wrangle three others and find one lost member of the group.


Having worked as an assistant to a Music Therapist while in college at a school for Special Education, and familiar with some of the challenges that accompany management of groups on such a “field trip”, I felt I should help.


Of course, none of them knew me so that was challenge number one. With their supervisor in another aisle loudly calling out the names of the three stragglers and the lost member of the group, the others remained with me in the candy aisle. At this juncture, they decided to begin sampling the goods. Attempting to stop them by reminding them that they are not to touch anything, and that it violates their privileges toward further excursions, they simply ignored me, ripped open a bag of chocolate bars and happily shared them with anyone who walked by. With no way of stopping them, I did my best to curtail the activity, but secretly found the scenario hilarious.


What fun they were having!


Finally, their supervisor joined the now sugared-up group with stragglers in tow, profusely thanking me over and over.


So much for a quick in and out stop at my least favorite store! Still chuckling to myself, I happily handed the empty package of chocolate bars and my chosen purchase to the cashier, explaining the predicament, and thoroughly content to cover the cost of the stolen candy.


Now, on this Christmas morning, as I reflect on the lovely family gathering we enjoyed last night, and giggle at the laughter and revelry as we dined together, opened gifts, poked fun at one another, and celebrated, my attention turns to the Holy Family.


It is the day we celebrate the Birth of Christ Jesus the Lord. It was a joyous occasion and is the reason it remains as such. As humble and simple as His birth was, and even in the midst of what most of us in the western world would consider severely difficult circumstances, I picture Mary Magdalene actually laughing.


Oh, don’t get me wrong, Dear Hearts! I’m certain she may have done her fair share of crying as well! All that way riding on a donkey, nine months pregnant and counting? No place to sleep or deliver her baby? All for the purpose of paying taxes, no less!


Not funny.


And childbirth! In the best of circumstances, it’s not for the faint of heart. Am I right, ladies?

But once the Lord was born in that lowly stable, among barn yard animals and their specific aromas; and she recognized the absurdity of the situation as well as the joy of bearing a beautiful boy child, the Son of God . . .


. . .Well, Dear Hearts, she had to laugh or cry. I’m certain she did both. What joy!


Fa la la la ha HA! and Merry Christmas to all!

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